Following the initial discovery of dinosaur tracks by two local young boys beside a creek near the town of Tumbler Ridge in 2000, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF) was formed with palaeontology as one of its major themes. In 2002 BC?s first accumulation of dinosaur bone material was discovered in another creek bed close to town.
In the long term the building of a museum to interpret and exhibit the resulting material remains the goal of the TRMF. However, noting the wealth of this fossil heritage and the amount of work that would be needed for exploration, collection, preparation and research of the fossil material, it was clear that a facility and resident palaeontologists were essential to further this process. Thus the concept of the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) was born, and came into fruition in 2004.
A 2000 square foot warehouse was rented on the outskirts of Tumbler Ridge. A fresh coat of wall and floor paint gave the inside a new look, and soon fossils and equipment were pouring in. Vertebrate palaeontologists Rich McCrea, western Canada?s dinosaur footprint authority, and BC-born Lisa Buckley, with complementary expertise in dinosaur bones, assumed their research and curatorial positions in May, 2004 and have been hard at work since, creating a modern facility which is the only one of its kind in the region.
The TRMF and the development of the PRPRC is the result of local passion and drive, with enthusiastic volunteers coming up with any fundraising initiative they can think of to keep their dream alive. One such Initiative was spearheaded through Community Futures Development Corporation of the Peace Liard. Community Futures is a catalyst for community economic and social development for individuals, businesses, and organizations of the region with an entrepreneurial focus for a sustainable, diversified, value-added economy. Community Futures assisted TRMS in applying for funds under the Softwood Lumber Initiative through Western Development Diversification Canada (WDD). WDD understood the importance of this initiative and felt it matched their mandate to support the development and growth of a western Canadian economy that is inclusive, innovative, sustainable and diversified.
In 2004, WDD funnelled the funds to Community Future Development Corporation through their Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative which was created to help forest-dependent communities create opportunities for economic development in order to stimulate investment and job creation. Specifically, the Softwood Initiative provided funding for projects in B.C.?s forest-dependent communities that address local adjustment priorities and which had demonstrable community support.
The objectives of the Softwood Initiative were to facilitate local and regional, forest-based strategic investments with positive long-term economic benefits, and transition away from traditional forest-based dependence to alternative and sustainable economic activities within communities.
This funding ensured that the Tumbler Ridge museum Foundation could move forward with its development plans. These funds also were pivotal in securing matching funds contributed from private donations and industry. The remaining funds required for this project were underwritten by the District of Tumbler Ridge. This allowed the initial outfitting of the PRPRC, which is now equipped with the necessary ventilation devices to meet WCB standards, preparation equipment, storage capability, and field equipment.
Community Futures Development of the Peace Liard is proud to have played an integral part in making this very important project a reality. Today, Sue Kenny, Community Futures General Manager is pleased to be presenting a commemorative plaque recognizing the contribution of Western Economic Diversification in this vital venture. This plaque made of B.C. softwood, has a personalized certificate which states:
This Project initiated by
The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
is made possible through the Government of Canada?s Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative
Community Futures Development
Western Economic Diversification Canada